The defense ministers of Israel and Russia have reached an understanding to allow Israel to attack Iranian targets in Syria, according to Russian officials quoted by the London-based Arabic-language newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat.
The Liberman-Shoigu meeting came on the heels of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's demand Wednesday that all foreign forces - including those from Iran, Turkey and the U.S. - leave southwestern Syria as soon as possible, as well as his remarks Monday at a press conference in Moscow that only the Syrian regime should field military forces in the country's southern border areas. Israel agreed not to attack Syrian regime targets, the report said.
A handout picture released by the official Facebook page of the Syrian Presidency on May 31, 2018 shows President Bashar al-Assad (L) giving an interview to a journalist from Russia Today in the capital Damascus.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an independent Britain-based war-monitoring group, has said at least 68 Iranians and pro-Iranian forces have been killed in Israeli air strikes since April.
The prospect of hostile forces - either military personnel from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) or sponsored militias - has alarmed Israel.
This is apparently under the terms of a deal being negotiated by Russian Federation and Israel for Iranian-backed forces to pull back and prevent a bigger conflict.
Brief readouts from the Kremlin and Netanyahu's office said only that the two leaders discussed a "Syrian settlement" and "Iran's military entrenchment in Syria". "They [the agreements] stipulate that this de-escalation zone should consolidate stability, while all non-Syrian forces must be withdrawn from this area", Lavrov said.
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The administration offered no evidence of its position, with Miller saying, "it's just common sense". What's more , Democrats aren't wholly responsible for either policy.
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The source was however unable to confirm if the absence of the aforementioned militias from the coalition of government forces which will take part in the imminent south Syria offensive is due to external pressure from Israel and a formal agreement, though this does seem likely.
Ahead of a major offensive in southern Syria, troops from the Syrian Army and other government forces have been redeployed to the Deraa Governorate.
Reports say Israel would like to see a deal in which initially Iran would be pushed back 40-50 miles from the border and eventually compelled to leave Syria altogether.
Assad's priority is to get United States forces out of Syria, and he says that the SDF is the "only problem left" with respect to uniting the territory of Syria.
A source told the Ynet news site on Thursday that "Israel is uninterested in partial agreements, but rather in an exit of all Iranian forces from Syria".
The US earlier threatened Damascus with "firm and appropriate measures" as Syrian forces prepared to retake a strategic province on the border with Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.